Transportation Equity Study and National Balanced Development in China
J Shi, Tsinghua University, CN
In China, the transportation infrastructure construction has lagged behind the development of national economy. Although the nationwide transportation system framework has been established in the past 20 years, the nation is still facing a sharp contradiction between the fast growing transportation demand and the relatively limited capability of current transportation system.
Chinese central government has been advocating and promoting the national integrated transportation system. At present, the two main modes of regional transportation are highway and railway, while water carriage also plays a role in freight transport and tubes are gradually dominating the transport of oil and gas. Due to some historical reasons, the development of railway, to some extent, grows laggardly; on the contrary, the highway system has been developing at a dramatic speed. However, the highway network service is still not fully implemented even in the east part of China due to the low density and low coverage of expressways, which makes the scale effect impossible. While in the west area, the condition becomes worse where cities of considerable scale may have no expressway link to its provincial capital and some provinces are even not effectively connected to its adjacent province with expressway.
A medium and long term plan of national transportation network has been put forward recently, which figures out 5 horizontal and 7 longitudinal transport channels across China. In the near future, great effort will be made to complete and strengthen the whole network. Usually the central government ranks the project priorities and put forward policies to implement these projects. However, the ranking is basically based on the project evaluation in which Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) method is mostly employed. As a result, the more developed east part of China usually takes a priority in the allocation of policies due to its better economic environment under the traditional project evaluation process. This undoubtedly widens the gap between the west and the east and leads to an imbalanced growth of the network system.
One effort made to improve this situation is to get equity issues involved into the project evaluation process, which has been widely discussed in many countries. In our previous work, the main factors of transportation equity were concluded and more attention was paid to the disadvantaged groups and regions, where embodies the requirement of sustainable transportation. Based on these analyses, an entropy based model is proposed to evaluate the equity issues of projects, in which compensations for disadvantaged groups and undeveloped regions are particularly made. This is used to modify traditional CBA results, which only focus on efficiency. It is found that the priority sequence of regional projects varies if this model is used in the evaluation process in stead of CBA method. It is suggested that the undeveloped provinces in the west and the middle part of China should get a priority raise from the point of view of equity and some provinces in the east part may still remain at a high rank due to their high efficiency.
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